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Understanding PEI Ratings | How to Select the Right Tiles for Different Areas

Understanding PEI Ratings | How to Select the Right Tiles for Different Areas 

Navigating the world of tiles can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to understanding the nuances of different ratings and certifications. Among these, the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rating system plays a crucial role in determining the durability and abrasion resistance of ceramic and porcelain tiles. By understanding PEI ratings, you can make informed decisions about which tiles are suitable for your specific needs and application areas. 

Unravelling PEI Ratings: A Guide to Tile Durability

The PEI rating system, established by the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI), serves as an industry standard for evaluating the durability of ceramic and porcelain tiles. This rating is assigned based on a standardized abrasion test that measures a tile’s ability to withstand wear and tear caused by foot traffic.

How PEI Ratings Relate to Tile Abrasion Resistance

The PEI test is conducted with an equipment called Abrasimeter, where the tile surface is subjected to the action of a rotating abrasive load, consisting of different-sized steel ball bearings and alumina powder, which is an extremely hard material. This compound is loaded into a test chamber and spun sequentially at a specific number of revolutions, and subsequently, the tested sample is checked for visible signs of wear. The number of revolutions spun before signs of wear become visible on the surface is what determines a tile’s PEI rating. 

Failure Visible At:  PEI Class 
100 revolutions  0
150 revolutions  1
600 revolutions  2
750 / 1,500 revolutions  3
2,100 / 6,000 / 12,000 revolutions  4
More than 12,000 revolutions  5

The higher the PEI Rating, the more resistant a tile would be to abrasion. Our Slip-Stop tiles that are geared for residential and commercial uses all have a minimum PEI rating of 3 to ensure their suitability for these areas. Consider the following table of PEI ratings and their associated applications: 


PEI Rating  Application 
0 Exclusively for walls, not recommended for floor usage. 
1 Suitable for floor in areas with light traffic that are walked on with soft-soled footwear or bare feet without scratching dirt, e.g. walk-in wardrobes and bedrooms without direct access from the outside 
2 Suitable for floor in areas with low foot traffic that are walked on with soft soled or normal footwear with minimal amounts of scratching dirt, e.g. living areas but not kitchens, entrances, and other higher traffic areas. 
3 Suitable for floor in areas with moderate foot traffic that are walked on with normal footwear with small amounts of scratching dirt, e.g. offices, residential kitchens, halls, corridors, balconies, and terraces.
4 Suitable for all residential and medium commercial interior and exterior floors, and light institutional uses, e.g. restaurants, hotels, hospital lobbies, and corridors. 
5 Specifically for heavy foot traffic areas, suitable for all residential, heavy commercial, and institutional foot traffic, ideal for spaces requiring maximum performance and safety. 

Making Informed Tile Choices with PEI Ratings 

Selecting tiles with the appropriate PEI rating is crucial, especially for their durability. Using the wrong tiles with a lower PEI rating than required for its intended use may lead to scratches and surface wear damages after a short period. At the same time, it’s also important to note that the PEI rating solely reflects a tile’s suitability for a particular application and does not indicate its overall quality or value. Sometimes, even the most exquisite and expensive tiles may carry PEI rating of 1 or 2. 

The PEI rating serves as a guideline to assist in choosing tiles that can endure the demands of their intended environment. It’s essential to consider this classification when selecting tiles to ensure they meet the required durability for the intended space, guaranteeing long-lasting and suitable installations. 

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